5 April 2024


 "The Power of Narratives and Visual Culture in Transnational Cooperation: Exploring Turkish-German Relations in the Everyday"


After the first workshop on July 19, 2023, at the University of Duisburg-Essen, the second workshop of the DAAD-TÜBITAK funded bilateral project titled ‘Distant Neighbours: Exploring Political Narratives and Visual Culture in Turkish-German Relations’ took place on April 5, 2024 at the European Institute, Istanbul Bilgi University.

The authors’ workshop brought together scholars, researchers, and experts from various academic disciplines to once again delve into the multifaceted dynamics of the relationship between Turkey and Germany. Organized by the European Institute at Istanbul Bilgi University and the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, this workshop aimed to expand the discourse beyond traditional political analysis that focus on political elites to explore the role of narratives and visual culture in transnational Turkish-German spheres by encompassing a diverse range of cultural and political actors, including civil society movements, youth cultures, filmmakers, novelists, musicians, and artists. The idea is that these actors, operating in loose transnational networks influence political discourses and contribute to a more nuanced understanding of Turkish-German relations.


The interdisciplinary workshop brought together young and experienced researchers from different academic backgrounds such as political science, sociology, anthropology, media studies and film studies to engage with the everyday (visual) narratives of Turkish-German relation. Participants presented their work in progress, focusing on methodological approaches and empirical cases. The workshop featured three panels, each addressing different aspects of Turkish-German relations. Key themes included transnational social spaces, youth radicalization tendencies, visual representation of transnational communities, methodological and theoretical approaches on narrative and visual analysis, new migration movements from Turkey to Germany, and the role of arts in transnational and cosmopolite Turkish-German spheres.

Deniz Güneş Yardımcı and Frank Gadinger opened the workshop with a warm welcome speech introducing the scope and objectives of the DAAD-TÜBITAK project and emphasizing the importance of exploring transnational cooperations and cultural and artistic transnational spheres in Turkish-German relations. The director of the European Institute at Istanbul Bilgi University Ayhan Kaya also welcomed all participants of the workshop underlining the value of research on transnational cooperations and everyday transnational social spaces in the context of Turkish-German relations.

The first panel Methodological Approaches on Political Narratives and Visuality opened with Frank Gadinger and Deniz Güneş Yardımcı giving insights into visual culture, narrative analysis and transnational social spheres, emphasizing their role in studying Turkish-German relations in political life and everyday culture. Katja Freistein, delved into methodological approaches of visual narrative analysis, exploring images and political storytelling of reimagined Turkish communities in Germany. The panel ended with Taylan Yıldız ’s presentation on visualising third spaces of hybridity and diasporas.

In panel two on Contemporary Political Narratives: Populism, Polarization, and Radicalization Tendencies Ayhan Kaya discussed the potential role of expressive cultures in mitigating the effects of co-radicalization of nativist and self-identified Muslim youth groups, followed by Melis Öneren Özbek’s analysis of populist discourses, integration policies, and football with a special focus on media discourses of Turkish-German football players. In his presentation, Mustafa Gökcen Kösen explored the role of emotions and narratives in approaching Turkish German relations.

The workshop continued with a guided tour of the energy museum and archive of Silahtarağa Electricity Factory at Santral Campus of Istanbul Bilgi University. Guiding through the museum and archive, Başak Koşanay introduced us to various historical documents that illustrate early Turkish-German transnational cooperations in the Ottoman Empire.


The last panel New Migration Movements, Transnational Belongings and Cultural Hybridity in Arts and Culture started with Deniz Güneş Yardımcı exploring transnational aesthetics and narratives in Turkish-German cinema. Discussing Turkish-German cooperation in the field of orchestral music, Serkan Topal examined classical music concerts as a means of mobilization for civil society.

The last two contributions investigated the new wave migration from Turkey to Germany. Ceren Kulkul’s paper explored transnational belonging in the city, concentrating on new wave Turkish migrants in Berlin. The workshop ended with Idil Atasoy examining identity struggles in the recent wave of artist migration between Istanbul and Berlin. The day concluded with a workshop dinner, offering participants an informal setting to continue discussions, give feedback, and strengthen collaborations. 

The workshop provided a valuable platform for interdisciplinary exchange, fostering a deeper understanding of Turkish-German relations beyond conventional analyses of political elites. By exploring narratives and visual culture in social, cultural, and artistic transnational spaces, the workshop gave significant insights to the complex dynamics of transnational cooperation between Turkey and Germany. The fruitful discussions and diverse perspectives will be compiled into an edited volume, potentially part of the Routledge Global Cooperation Series. The organizers express gratitude to participants for their valuable contributions, fostering an engaging and collaborative environment and to DAAD and TÜBITAK for making this workshop possible.





10:00-10:15 Welcome and Opening
Frank Gadinger and Deniz Güneş Yardımcı

10:15-11:15 PANEL 1: Methodological Approaches on Political Narratives and Visuality
Chair: Mustafa Gökcan Kösen

Cooperation through Practices in the Everyday: The Power of Narratives, Visual Culture and Transnational Identity in Turkish-German Relations 
Frank Gadinger/Deniz Güneş Yardımcı

Visual Narratives of Fantastic Pasts and Futures. German Strategies for Re-imagined Turkish Communities
Katja Freistein

Visualizing Third Spaces: Between Diaspora and Cultural Hybridity
Taylan Yıldız 

Plenary Discussion

11:15-11:30 Coffee Break

11:30-12:30 PANEL 2: Contemporary Political Narratives: Populism, Polarization and Radicalization
Chair: Deniz Güneş Yardımcı

The Potential Role of Expressive Cultures in Mitigating the Effects of Co-Radicalization of Nativist and Self-Identified Muslim Youth Groups in Europe 
Ayhan Kaya

Populism, Integration, and Football: Exploring Media Discourses on Turkish-German Football Players
Melis Öneren Özbek

Emotions and Narratives: How to Approach Turkish-German Relations
Mustafa Gökcan Kösen

Plenary Discussion

12:30-13:30 Lunch Break @ Eggs & Bakes, Istanbul Bilgi University Santral Campus

13:30-14:30 ExcursusGuided Tour of the Energy Museum and the Archive of Silahtarağa Electricity
Factory at Santral Campus 

Early Turkish-German Transnational Cooperations in the Ottoman Empire: The
Example of Silahtarağa Electricity Factory
 Guided Tour by Amed Gökçen

15:00-16:30 PANEL 3: New Migration Movements, Transnational Belongings and Cultural Hybridity in
Arts and Culture
Chair: Frank Gadinger

Transnational Aesthetics, Transnational Narratives: Cultural Hybridity in Turkish German Cinema
Deniz Güneş Yardımcı

‘Orchestration of Civil Society?’ German-Turkish Cooperation in the Field of Classical Orchestral Music
Serkan Topal

Transnational Belonging in the City: New Wave Turkish Migrants in Berlin
Ceren Kulkul

White Turks in Gurbet – Performing Transnational Identity: A Case Study of the Artistic Migration from Istanbul to Berlin
İdil Atasoy


For further information, please visit the project website: https://explorenarratives.com/